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Modifying boots and liners for tourability / weight

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  • Modifying boots and liners for tourability / weight

    Last year I retrofitted my trusty Crispi CXP boots with Garmont G-fit liners. As I was getting used to new, longer skis (176 BD Aspects from 165 Karhu Jils) and most of my tours were fairly icy ski mountaineering-type trips on Mt. Hood in OR, I spent a good deal of time paramarking, and associated my lack of telemarking balance with terrain and novel boards.

    But this year, in fluffy CO, after a recent spell of skiing mostly in Garmont Excursions, I headed out to ski a steeper and crustier line with my Crispis, and found telemarking was almost uncomfortable given the high, stiff cuff. I quickly reverted to parallel turns. I am not a purist, but on Switchbacks, it does seem that being comfortable dropping a knee is a good thing. I started thinking about modifying the boot to allow for more comfortable tele-turning, but also to shave weight and tour better.

    I'm curious if anyone has cut down the cuffs of thermoliners before, and if so, whether you had any advice on the process. I am also curious who has undertaken more general mods on plastic boots to increase ease of touring,

    A few examples:
    http://bedrockandparadox.com/2011/03...-ski-like-luc/ or even
    http://www.wildsnow.com/2180/scarpa-...-skiing-boots/

    Thoughts?
    - EBL

  • #2
    Why don't you try your Excursions with the Aspect/Switchback setup is you want a softer boot?

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    • #3
      ^^^^^^ is certainly the simplest way to resolve it.

      "Back in the ttips days," there used to be one or more threads about, "Why do I suck in taller, stiffer boots," and plenty of folk described how they upgraded from something like a T2 to a T1 and, presto, he/she lost the ability to make a decent, stable telemark turn. Universally, the advice was to work on pressuring the cuffs of the boots (vs raising the heal). I can't tell from your description if that's what's needed, esp. since you say you were already been enjoying the 3-buckle Crispis before you hit the steeps.

      I personally wouldn't modify the boots until you've had 10 or more days on them and still find the cuffs too high and too stiff. And even then, it sounds like you're trying to modify your Crispis to ski like your Garmonts, so I'd go back to Aaron's question, why not just revert to the Excursions?

      FWIW, I had a similar experience the first time I tried T2X's. It takes a dozen runs or so, but you'll adjust.

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      • #4
        I do ski with my Excursions and the Aspects, probably 90% of the time.

        Mostly, I'm looking for a project, and a way to repurpose these boots into something I'd use more than I currently do. Figured there might be people around who tinkered with boots given all the home binding workshops. The sweet spot would be slightly stiffer than the Excursions are now, but not quite as high as the new liner cuff, which is a good inch above the old Crispi liner. Possibly sans lean lock as well.

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        • #5
          My first sugesstion would be to use the g-fit liners from the cxp in the excursions. I forget if the excursion has the power strap attached to the cuff or the liner. but if liner, add one to the cuff (voile straps work really well as power straps).

          next consider making a rear spoiler that is either screwed to the excursion cuff, or just sandwiched between cuff and line, put power strap on the spoiler.

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          • #6
            I have been considering that, given the potential weight savings. Powerstrap is on the liner, but I have two voile straps to spare. The thermoliner's height above the plastic cuff seems awkward, but I should probably ski it before coming to conclusions.

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            • #7
              A CXP is a very soft boot maybe softer than a older generation T2. A G fit liner is pretty stiff. I don't think cutting down the liner would soften it up. I would look around for a Scarpa Plus fit liner or get a Intuition Universal liner. These liners are soft. If it was my project. I would remold the Gfit liner and really compress the bellows area. Then just get used to a more powerful boot than Excursions. I had a pair of CXP's that I toured with for a couple of years. I thought it was a pretty good boot. I put a Scarpa Plus fit liner in it.
              "Just say no to groomed snow"

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              • #8
                Funny how we keep coming back to people wanting to make a given boot ski like another boot. And it usually involves the trusty Excursion. There is something to that. I think there is a sweet spot between the Excursion and the next more powerful boot that is not fulfilled. However physics and current materials science is a big factor there: Light/unrestrictive, easy forward flex and torsionally rigid. Pick two. It is worth noting that I have experimented with using a heavier taller liner and a taller stiffer tongue in my Excursions. It really hasn't provided a noticeable amount of control. It makes the boot heavier and inhibits forward striding. I have not gone as far as a spoiler or any other mods that involve holes in the plastic. I have given up and have decided that the Excursions are what they are. And given the fact that I don't tele, what I really need is something like an F1 that fits my ridiculously weird feet. I think it was elmoreman who posted a TR where he XC skied the F1. That's what i need. The ability to XC ski something light and then lock it down. And for a reasonable price... That's the kicker.

                Regarding the OP, the CXP is the next boot up from the Excursion that I would ever want to try both personally and based on your description. I think Quad is right, try a different liner.
                "Nobody ever got my name right." - Me

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                • #9
                  ^ You're probably right. The CXPs flex beautifully. And with the G-fits aren't much heavier than the Excursions. Maybe some intuition pro-tours are the ticket. I think the bigger issue driving my desire to tinker is actually I am just too much of a lightweight for my skis, and want a boot fix that lets me have it both ways.

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                  • #10
                    I've done some work on a pair of F3s in order to make a lighter-weight and rugged touring boot for the occasional miserable Alaska excursion. The goal was a boot that wouldn't get frozen to the binding when encountering overflow and that wouldn't be as prone to breakage as a SNS or NNN-BC binding on a long rough trip. Removed the cuff and the metal cuff locking mechanism, cut a few misc. plastic pieces off, had the guy at Boot Country attach the heel retention strap to the points where the cuff had previously attached, and used an old soldering iron to cut down the tongue. I was going to get a nice Koflach boot Intuition liner for them, but didn't want to spend the money so I just cut a spare thermo liner down using a razor blade. Got a pair of Madshus Glittertinds with just a tech toe mounted on them and they work great. Pretty bombproof.

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                    Went out for a tour today using the Crispi Svartisens I recently acquired (great boot if you're looking for some solid NNN-BC footwear), and I loaned the F3 mods to a buddy who didn't have any XC gear. He popped them on a pair of scaled Voiles and we did about 17 miles--he seemed to think they worked pretty good:
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                    • #11
                      ^ Nice! The nordic-tech strategy that does so well in the Alaska Wilderness classic. How well can you handle the downs with that set-up?

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                      • #12
                        Well done Tomahawk. I'm curious about the down too. It also confirms my own view that there's a market, perhaps ridiculously small, for plastic mountaineering boots with tech fittings.

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                        • #13
                          You can power parallel turns well enough in them, but I've found it difficult to get good control in a telemark turn because the cuff isn't quite high enough in the front to pressure the boot properly.

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                          • #14
                            Very cool Tomahawk. Don't you need a gaiter? Looks like that low point of the shell at bottom of ankle bone is intrusion point for mentioned overflow, or even snow. Foam liner good enough? Also, hows the striding? Got some f1s of my own to test but no snow!

                            Boot mods is the next frontier I've been resisting temptation of, but to show it's occured to me... I go the other way in preferring a taller cuff...tho flexible. Hate the bite point of my excursions. Looking at skin on skeleton kayaks, got notion to try making a sewn-on fabric composite cuff. 400d cordura coated with polyurethane. Sew on with many holes and strong thread...just like boots & shoes. Heavier/stronger, could go fiberglass (carbon fiber, kevlar) and 2 part polyurethane.

                            Wish I knew a hardware store substitute to the ankle rivet. Lacking ready access to straps, laces & loops come to mind.

                            I riveted some rear spoilers (3 rivets) to 1st year three buckle t2s and they show no stress at the holes whatsoever.

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                            nee, Whiteout

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                            • #15
                              Tomahawk - cool mods. I've been trimming my Excursions trying to get the weight down and gain flexibility. I've trimmed the top of the cuff down a ways, removed the power strap, worked on shaving cuff and lower to get more range of motion in the cuff (but not much more), and trimmed various bits of excess plastic. Also currently skiing them without tongues, which saves 5 ounces. Have thought about cutting down the liners, but the liners are so light that it doesn't seem worth it. Looking to find some used F1 race boots but nobody has my size (29 or 29.5) for sale. Or maybe some used Aliens..... Kinda wish I could find another pair of excursions cheap so I could get more radical on the mods without burning my bridges.

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